Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What’s on my Radar? Innovative Stuff happening in Nairobi

  • Taka Taka Solutions – Garbage Collection Solutions for Nairobi
Last month I made an acquaintance at iHub. In one of those random collisions, where you have a visitor in the space looking for the WiFi Password! After this we naturally become friends and in subsequent meetings I asked him what he was doing in town apart from working in his master’s thesis. That is how I came to know about a really cool project taka taka solutions. A garbage collection solutions in it’s pilot phase in Nairobi.

Currently, one of my interests has been Mungiki. This is as a result of sitting down to presentations at BIEA which have touched on post election violence and role of Mungiki. My former lecturer Dr. Musambayi Katumanga has been a trailblazer on this subject of gang and economics behind it. Mind you we even have some European Scholars trying to unpack this subject and one of their reference points has been how organized gangs in Europe resulted in the formation of a social welfare state!

If you know about informal gangs in the city then you will know that one of their primary revenue generation channels is waste disposal. This is because the state through the city council has removed itself from this space. This is as a result of inefficiency coupled with economic factors. I was recently surprised to learn the City Council of Nairobi has less than 3 refuge collection trucks. This explains the eye sore we experience in the city.

So what happened when we have a breakdown in bare essential services like waste disposal? Someone has to fill that space and what happens is contractors are sub contracted to do this by city council. How do they carry out this? They engage street children to do the basic work [at a bargain of course]. The problem is compounded when the refuse is taken to one central place [Dandora Dump Site] without considerations of recycling or best practices.
Other problems that come out of this are;
  1. Some of these youths ‘contracted’ to do the ground work ‘transform’ themselves into gangs.
  2. There is NO consideration for recycling. What emerges is a ‘vulture ecosystem’ best exemplified by Dandora dump site.
  3. Residents of Nairobi pay ‘crazy amounts’ for waste disposal. Currently we pay Kshs 300 per Month for waste disposal!
  4. Gross in efficiencies occur along the way and recyclable materials are NOT recycled
Enter Taka Taka Solutions
So when I heard of Taka Taka Solutions I was amazed by what they are doing. The information I have is that they are currently in the pilot phase. However, they have made some strides and have the right mindset of solving the Dandora dump site menace.
This company is a social enterprise providing affordable and environmentally friendly waste management services. They charge Kshs 80 per month and provide the tenants with different waste refuse baskets which they collect every fort night. Some of this waste is then taken to a compost pit from which compost manure is made.
So at the end of the day you have nutrients and food coming to the city and in turn the city provides the compost manure to the rural areas. So this in turn solves the problems of soil fertility occurring in rural areas. Going by the tweet I was from the PS Ndemo
@bantigito Today, Africa uses less than 3% of global fertilizer, if we doubled that to 6%, plus better seed, we can improve crop production by 50%.
At the end of the day we reduce our reliance on fertilizers and save some foreign currency
Use of Technology
Taka Taka solutions have also embraced technology [MPesa payment platform]. To add some cherry to the cake, the customers who pay through MPesa get a percentage discount [20% if I am NOT wrong!]. That way you remove the ‘garbage landlords’ whom I am told make Kshs 100, 000 a month!
Find more information about Taka Taka Solutions on their Facebook Page
  • Beba Card
Beba Card advert
The other innovate stuff in my radar is the Beba card which has been in the market from May this year. A Google and Kenya Bus Service Urban transport payment solution. Good stuff has been written on it here: link.
The other day I had discourse with a friend and we we’re trying to look at the impact of this card should it be successful. Our musing was will it;
  1. Result in job losses for conductors?
  2. Result to better cash flow management for public transport vehicles? [A lot of leakage happens when conductors collude with drivers to fleas matatu owners]
  3. Reduce corruption in our high ways [however, little police corruption occurs in urban commute]
Photos: Facebook and Beba website

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